“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.”
― Loren Eiseley
Above and below: Seedheads covered in ice from freezing rain – the patterns develop as the ice starts to melt away and break up into smaller pieces.
Frost flowers develop when it is very cold and the air is quite moist. The ones pictured here formed on thin ice at the edge of the river near open water, on a night when the temperature dipped to -25C.
Above: A tiny branch with phantom ‘leaves’ on a cold winter morning.
Below: A small frost formation on a window.
The Ottawa River shifting through the seasons.
I sometimes find it difficult to shift my visual thinking/creativity away from the winter landscape in the spring. For me it holds a bit of magic like no other season. The key to these transformations is water. From raindrops to snowflakes, to ice and frost, is there anything with more imagination than water?
The landscape is mostly shades of brown now with small bits of green trying to emerge through the damp earth. The river has lost its ice. Most of the photographs here have been posted on these pages before, some even from the previous winter, so I guess this is a bit of a recap (or an ice cap), but together they attempt to illustrate, and to let go of, the season that has just passed.
Also, on Monday April 22nd it will be Earth Day! In 2013 the focus is on climate change and how it is impacting people, creatures and environments the world over. You can learn more (and participate) by going to the Earth Day website. It is our collective voices and actions that make changes.
What are your plans for Earth Day?
© Karen McRae, 2013
78 thoughts on “What Water Does”
Thank you, Allen. : )
Yay! Thanks very much.
All those photos in the collection are nothing but astonishing, both as the phenomena in the nature’s creation and the effort of Karen to capture them.
The scientists must be astonished and puzzled with them even more 🙂
Technically, I most puzzled by the 10th photo —– have you used with
tilting lens ? or managed with small F-aperture alone ?
Thank you Yoshizen, I imagine the scientists have it figured out but it still seems kind of magic. : ) Your comments are very kind.
I did not use a tilt shift lens for #10 (I wish I had one!) and the aperture was f3.5.
What ??? It’s inconceivable — F3.5 !
(As I hacksawed 2 cameras, I thought I knew this field,
but, not so 😀 )
Your are very welcome.
Brilliant brilliant brilliant! Love the collection of images you’ve put together here K.
That’s very kind, Al, thank you. Water has a way of being brilliant!
You got the choice of words! Oh, we’ll hopefully blaf ftf about it.
As usual, awesome stuff. I would love to have the opportunity to shoot some of those ice formations . . . I suppose we would need lots of water for that.
Stunning – wonderful ensemble.
Wow Karen. Your Recap on the rocks is absolutely fabulous!
I keep going back to the frozen seeds. Those patterns… reminds me of tortoise shells.
On Earth Day I will be on the beach, doing my daily comb, dragging along a big garbage bag (I will bring a bigger bag on ED). Perhaps I’ll get to see baby turtles. There’s a big turtle nest on the beach right now. Exiting!!
Have a wonderful weekend Karen.
there is nothing so beauty-full as ice. harsh, fragile, resolute & exquisite. you capture all of this in your portraiture. J
I love pictures 12 and 13 – it looks like an ice cathedral, attended by bowing sculptures.
What a collection of breathtaking photos! Incredible work, Karen!
This is a great collection, Karen. The strangest ones are the seeds. A great title too.
Stunning photos again Karen.
Absolutely love what you are doing with your camera…beautiful images…it’s the details isn’t it…
astonishingly good! you are a master of macro ice photos!!!
wonderful work; I love the whole series but especially the fifth and sixth!
Beautiful !!! A fantastic serie, Karen. Thank you for sharing
I can’t imagine what -25 degrees feels like!
Great set here, Karen, look at all the wonderful things that water can do!
Look at all the wonderful things that you can do with water and your camera!
Simply beautiful – there’s no other word for your images.
What a Magical world!?! You are almost making me happy it will snow tomorrow and even made me forget what a long winter this was (for a moment)! Thank you for the inspiration.
I love your river photos but your ice fairies on the window were so delicate.
Thank you for showing us your visions.
Another wow from me!
Just beautiful magical images. Don’t like winter but ice enchants me too 🙂 Love your photos!
incredible collection of shots…thank you
Oh, Karen! The title of my last novel was What Would Water Do and these photographs have made me feel like I have to go back and add so, so many things. Love!!!!!
Water really is magic – these are so beautiful, and strange and inexplicable. You have a masterful eye!
Wow, Karen. Absolute magic. I just broke into a huge smile of joy as I was going through these images. Such a delight for me to visit your page.
I want to put something more than “Like” 🙂 Really amazing ice formations and beautifully observed and shot, thanks.
These are sooo… beautiful. Thank you for sharing your love story with nature.
Karen you manage to capture water in so many of its beautiful forms, it’s just a treat!!! ❤
There is no doubt that nature produces incredibly beautiful things. But I think the magic is in your hands, combined with your knowledge and skill. I have seen thousands of photos, but none come close to those you capture and produce. Every post is more amazing than the last!
your photographs usually leave me in a dreamy state but these ones are extraordinary for the purpose! the first two somehow remind me of the ‘aliens’ – one of my favorite cinematic worlds. there’s something about the texture and transparency that almost looks like the objects have been organically engineered!
A magical recapitualtion Karen. I’ve just been sharing these images with friend I have staying and he was blown away by them as we all are. Fabulous work. We had a very, very cold March/April and it is only really in the last few days that the landscape here has been coming alive. It’s very late but nature sure is making up for it.. 🙂
True what Eiseley says, however here, the magic is through your eyes.
Beautiful, my dear Karen!
no truer words about the magic of water! And the way you show it is a delight!
Amazing, exciting, surprising, as ever. If there were a Pulitzer prize for blog posts, this one would be a serious candidate…
Absolutely exquisite, beyond words. Thank you.
magic. looked at them many times. first 13 are (great) photography, last 2 transcend to art. (apologies, failed to classify 14th).
A simply stunning collection, and a fitting tribute for Earth day. Excellent quote, too – it always makes me think of your work 🙂
Simply gorgeous. I love the quote from Loren Eisley, bought one of his books recently
I had to savor these so revisited the post a couple of times. You seem to have the ability to study and extend your examination of the water and see something new each time. And then your viewers see it as you do which sounds simple but isn’t. I have seen a lot of photos on wordpress and yours engage my attention very deeply.
Karen, water is a fantastic medium but you bring out its soul it’s shapes, forms & states. Thanks for this wonderful picture-essay!
sensational set of photos. The seeds are so delicately enveloped in ice and soon they will break free for Spring. Perfect for Earth Day.
I love these images, Karen. Any one of them would look terrific framed on the wall. Beautifully done again.
Love these Karen, a great set of images – you will need a reset when the spring & summer arrives 🙂 some terrific stuff this winter.
You ask us “What are your plans for Earth Day? ” I am a bit puzzled. Earth Day 2013: The Face of Climate Change. We always think that we do enough, but do we really? Not use the internet so often? Make some greeting cards from waste paper? Or just looking at the things which are in front of our house, the raindrops on a plant? I will think about it. Thanks for asking, Karen!
Even before I read that you sometimes find it hard to shift from winter to spring in your visual mind, I was thinking that might be the case, because you translate winter like no one I have ever seen. You have such a fine gift for investigating, photographing and then bringing the winter world to other people. I have looked closely at nature all my life – very closely – but I had no idea about the ice patterns in the first two shots. I like that you covered the spectrum here from river landscapes macros, but all with that sombre palette. Maybe except for the last – that one, with brighter colors and watery sparkles, speaks of the transition into spring. This is just very, very beautiful. Makes one take a deep breath…
We’ve just sat here saying, “Wow, that’s amazing” about so many of these – it’s great to see them all together, Karen. Have a great Spring.
the photos are IN-CRE-DI-BLE!!!!.
What exquisitely beautiful…extraordinary imagery. What a wonderful commemoration and way to honor earth day!
Really beautiful pictures!
Wow…some great shots!
All of these photographs are wonderful and very precious. But, especially I like the second photograph…I have never seen a pattern of the ice. Great shot, Karen.
The first two and last two images are just awesome! What a range of effects. : )
Beautiful, just beautiful. 🙂 The first three are my favorites – they are stunning!
In case you missed it, that was the sound of my jaw dropping…stunning photography!
It’s indeed, amazing what water can do. And you are an attentive, compassionate observers. This exquisite collection proves it without a doubt.
Beautiful! …and what interesting geometric shapes, especially in the first two photos!
So beautiful. I love the way ice crystals grow, and the regulat patterns that are also organic in nature.
Not sure what to say but…absolutely wonderful! 😀
Oh, how can you ever feel blue for long when you look at nature in all its glorious form – this is such a stunning collection Karen. The third one down particularly. Wonderful.
So pure… Love all of your pics ! 😀
What a stunning, transporting series of images, capturing and elucidating so many moods and textures and movements.
so amazing Karen! the first three especially…
The beauty if your photographs took my breath away. Thank you for sharing them.
Outstanding series and title! Very beautiful. Cheers, harrie.
I love your ways of seeing and the creative process you use to bring your vision to life…